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The topography of masculine normativities in South Africa

Journal article
Authors Erez Levon
Tommaso M. Milani
E. Dimitris Kitis
Published in Critical Discourse Studies
Volume 14
Issue 5
Pages 514-531
ISSN 1740-5904
Publication year 2017
Published at
Pages 514-531
Language en
Keywords corpus-assisted discourse studies, hegemony, Masculinity, normativities, print media, South Africa
Subject categories Gender Studies, General Language Studies and Linguistics, Media Studies


In this paper, we examine representations of masculinity in the English-language South African print media. Using both quantitative and qualitative techniques to interrogate a large corpus (18 million words) of English-language newspaper articles on masculinity that appeared in South Africa between 2008 and 2014, we investigate the ways in which different South African masculine types are positioned with respect to one another in the media and examine how these positionings draw on broader tropes of gender, race and social class that circulate in South African society. Ultimately, our goal is to provide a more nuanced picture of gender/sexual hegemony in South Africa that goes beyond a simple opposition between dominant versus subordinate forms of masculinity to explore the range of competing normativities in the region. In doing so, we also aim to contribute to debates about the role of norms and normativities in the theorizing of masculinity more broadly.

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